Tech Focus: Intercom Technology, Part 2 — What’s on the Market
Versatile devices connect to a wide range of brands, platforms, formats
By pro-audio standards, intercoms constitute a small market sector, but it’s a critical one. Here’s a look at the latest offerings from the market leaders.
Click here for Tech Focus: Intercom Technology, Part 1 — RF Disruption, IP Development Drive Evolution of Back-of-House Comms
The newly updated LQ Series devices are versatile connectivity interfaces for linking and extending communications over secure LAN and WAN networks or the internet. LQ can link different industry-standard two-wire intercom and four-wire audio systems together, irrespective of brand and platform. It extends the capabilities and intercom channels of a single system to one or more remote locations by positioning an LQ device at the destination location and interfacing with such Clear-Com devices as wired beltpacks, SIP clients, or any smart devices with Agent-IC mobile apps. Any core production user on the main intercom system can instantly connect with adjacent contributors on Agent-IC for monitoring the intercom, receiving IFB feeds, or working remotely. Each LQ IP interface can support up to eight individual Agent-IC clients, which means that up to eight users can call into the intercom system through 3G/4G or Wi-Fi internet links — to a total of up to 48 channels of LQ Series IP that can be connected to a particular intercom system. LQ interfaces can link these remote Agent-IC users to any two-wire partyline and/or four-wire digital solutions over IP networks. All setups and configurations for up to six LQ interfaces are easily managed within the browser-based Core Configuration Manager (CCM). The LQ interfaces also work with SIP telephony systems, allowing Clear-Com’s portfolio of intercom systems to seamlessly connect with VoIP phones. www.clearcom.com/
CrewCom wireless intercom system features excellent voice quality, exceptionally compact fully featured professional full-duplex wireless radio packs, and extreme range, with multiple RF access points that connect via copper (100 m) or fiber (10 km). CrewCom wireless products are available in 2.4 GHz and 900 MHz models (the latter limited to where this band is legal). Any combination of these frequency bands may be used simultaneously on the same CrewCom system, providing the ability to put dependable RF coverage where needed, with a user interface consistent throughout the system. CrewCom also offers easy system deployment along with one of the most user-friendly radio packs on the market. The design of CrewCom offers a significant price advantage for larger, more-demanding applications in terms of actual cost of deploying many wireless users in a production. Based on a decentralized platform that puts system resources where they are needed, the system features hundreds of conferences that provide the flexibility of a matrix or partyline without the cost or limitations of either system. This approach to professional wireless intercoms enables CrewCom to handle almost any applications, from simple out-of-the-box solutions to large-scale designs, for a wide range of installation projects for live sound, broadcast, industrial, and more.
Pliant has also recently released an updated line of SmartBoom headsets with enhancements to overall audio quality. They feature a convenient flip-up microphone-muting feature and are specifically designed for comfort, flexibility, and durability in the most demanding professional environments. The recently introduced LITE model (PHS-SB11L) incorporates all the features into a smaller, lightweight model designed for enhanced mobility and flexibility. www.plianttechnologies.com/
Artist digital matrix audio and intercom ecosystem can handle AES3, AES67, AVB, Dante, VoIP, and analog audio formats. It consists of a fiber-based backbone providing a decentralized infrastructure for live audio and intercoms with matrix sizes up to 1,024×1,024 ports. Multiple frames can be interconnected via dual optical-fiber ring to form a single large, full-summing, non-blocking distributed matrix that looks like one system to the user. Its Director configuration software is easy-to-use and boasts the industry’s fastest upload times.
The new 1200-series SmartPanel is the smartest SmartPanel yet. The RSP-1232HL features multiple full-color multitouch displays, 32 innovative hybrid-lever keys, the ability to leverage apps for multifunctionality, easy adaptability to the various workflows in use today, and high-quality stereo speakers. Each of the RSP-1232HL’s 32 lever keys features an integrated rotary encoder that provides control over parameters in the same location as the key. Users are able to choose custom colors for either the key labels or the LED ring surrounding each key. In addition, the RSP-1232HL natively supports AES67 through two fiber SFPs and two RJ45 connections that offer a variety of daisy-chaining and redundancy options and delivers cabling flexibility.
Bolero is a full-roaming, DECT-based wireless intercom system in the license-free 1.9 GHz frequency range. Fully integrated into the Artist digital matrix intercom or used as a standalone, Bolero offers robust features that can be applied as a wireless beltpack, a wireless keypanel, or a two-way radio. Several new technologies power Bolero’s capabilities, including an Advanced DECT Receiver (ADR) for multipath tolerance improvement and near-field communication (NFC) for easy, Touch&Go beltback registration. Bolero also features six channels, Bluetooth connectivity, and nearly 18 hours of battery life.
Riedel’s Performer is a digital partyline intercom system providing two- and four-channel master stations; rack-mount, wall-mount, and desktop speaker stations; and two-channel beltpacks. Performer can be directly interfaced to an Artist digital matrix. www.riedel.net/en/
ROAMEO uses the license-free DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) standard, a professional-grade, future-proof wireless intercom solution with a protected frequency band. It provides high-quality audio via a seamlessly integrated digital wireless beltpack and associated access points. Operating like a wireless keypanel, ROAMEO can be fully integrated into an existing ADAM series and allows users to address either individuals or specified groups. It consists of the TR-1800 beltpack, the AP-1800 access point, and accessories including a charger, holster, and pole-mount kit. Connection to a digital matrix is easily established via a single Ethernet cable. In addition, the system can use standard IT infrastructure, and access points can be daisy-chained. ROAMEO’s cellular structure can cover a wide area with seamless roaming between individual cells. Users can expand the coverage area by adding more access points, and additional wireless beltpacks can be directly addressed as part of a wired RTS matrix intercom system. Depending on the audio codec used, users can select between a higher emphasis on voice quality (G.722 full bandwidth) or a more efficient use of the radio spectrum with a higher number of beltpacks (G.726 narrow-band). ROAMEO can be configured via scroll lists on the beltpacks or by using the control software, which allows users to configure the complete intercom system. It offers a large color LED display and intuitive icon-based menu structure, and the four talk/listen buttons are shaped differently, providing users with tactile feedback and enabling operation in low-light conditions. www.rtsintercoms.com/
The Telos Infinity IP intercom delivers scalability, ease of integration, efficiency, and low total cost of ownership. The comprehensive AoIP communications solution converges voice communication and contribution audio on a single IT backbone deploying the latest standards-based VoIP and Livewire+ AES67 AoIP transport. Telos Infinity replaces matrix technology with an advanced, distributed IP network solution that provides superior functionality in a simplified, elegant form. Matrix-free structure allows plug-and-play networked hardware and software to be added to the system as part of a planned or ad hoc change without concern about exceeding the number of available ports on a matrix. Telos Infinity easily integrates with any AES67 partner devices as well as existing analog, AES, SDI, and MADI systems using Telos Alliance xNode baseband-to-IP interfaces. This flexibility allows customers to retain existing audio devices and infrastructure while cost-efficiently migrating to an AoIP platform. www.telosalliance.com/